Estranged adult adopted children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by sadgma, Dec 14, 2008.

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  1. sadgma

    sadgma New Member

    My husband and I adopted 6 children, all of whom are now grown with families of their own. We have great relationships with some of them, but others have hurt us terribly by their cruel comments and unkind actions.

    1) Our oldest son, who divorced his wife and now lives with his girlfriend, is upset that I have remained close to his ex-wife. She has custody of their three children, and I have always been very close to them. Even though this son hurt his ex-wife terribly (both emotionally and physically), she is a wonderful woman who allows me to see the children often, which I very much appreciate. This son has always blamed others for his poor decisions and recently, when I encouraged him to get a job to provide for his children, screamed profanity at me and told me that he's sorry I'm still alive. He has cut off all contact.

    2) One of our daughters, who is married and has a beautiful baby girl, became increasingly distant over this past year and finally just stopped interacting with us completely, including not allowing us to see her child. She refuses to answer our phone calls and emails, and will not answer the door when we try to visit. She has given no explanation, other than to state that she has had issues with us since before her marriage and that it won't do any good to talk about it because nothing will ever change. This daughter had a rough life before coming into our family at age 2-1/2; she started life in a foreign orphanage, was adopted by a family who decided not to keep her, and lived in approximately 6 homes before we adopted her. Understandably, she has significant attachment disorder (for which she has adamantly refused therapy), and has been manipulative and angry her whole life. Regularly throughout her teen years, we had to deal with her explosive rage and cruel comments. In between those bouts of anger, she was actually somewhat pleasant to be around, until the next melt down. Interestingly, she didn't bother to cut us off until after we had paid for her expensive Hawaiian wedding and expensive baby crib. My last conversation with her was over a month ago, when I dropped by her home to see if we could somehow resolve this. She screamed at me to get out of her house and to leave her alone. Even though I suspected she would eventually do this, I am devastated.

    I feel like my heart is breaking. We raised these children as our own and, in spite of their emotional and psychological problems, have always felt it important to make sure each one knows that we love them unconditionally. However, these two children have been so disrespectful and cruel for so many years, I don't have any reserves left to deal with them. Does anyone out there have any good ideas about how to deal with this in a healthy manner? We would appreciate your input.
  2. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Welcome Sad,

    There seems to be an epidemic lately of our difficult child kids withholding grandchildren from their grandparents. I don't know if it's the time of year and emotions are running high or what, but you are not alone, that's for sure. It's heartbreaking and I'm truly sorry.

    Others will be along shortly to share their wisdom. In the meantime, you might want to orient yourself by checking in on our FAQ/Board Help forum. Here's the link:

    On that forum you can find out what our abbreviations mean and also how to do a profile signature. Signatures are really important to help us keep each other's stories straight.

  3. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Hi and welcome. Attachment disorders stink! My daughter calls me when she wants something. Otherwise, I have to call her and hope she's in a mood to call me back. The only thing you can do is detach from it. As strange as it sounds, it's nothing personal. At least not to them. Their life will go on regardless of who is in or out of their lives. Those who love them suffer but they really don't understand that or, if they do, they really don't care -- empathy is not part of their makeup.

    For your son, I'm sure he feels betrayed. You're taking sides in his mind and his side is losing. He doesn't see it is his actions that are causing the difficulties and he probably won't see that anytime in the near future. If this were me, I'd simply keep enjoying my grandkids. I wouldn't tell my son what to do unless he specifically asks. I'd let him know that I'm not giving up my grandkids but that I do love him and will be there if he needs me. He's an adult and there's nothing you can do about his choices.

    For your daughter, there's even less you can do unless your son-in-law is totally on your side and decides to sneak the kids to see you.

    I'm sorry you're going through so much pain. I wish there was something that would magically get kids like ours to learn empathy, to understand you don't use grandchildren as pawns, to forgive. The only thing you can do is learn the fine art of detachment. Detaching doesn't mean you don't care, it means you go on living your life and do your best to ignore their lives and their choices.

  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board. :)

    MB put it perfectly and I agree with her. It stinks all the way around. But not a whole lot you can do except accept they're adults and make their own decisions. Detachment 101 we call it here.

    I'm glad your ex daughter in law is nice enough to let you see the grandkids often. Enjoy them. There is something magical about being a grandparent that lifts you're heart even when it's breaking.

    I'm glad you found us.

  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, if misery loves company, you have it in me. I used to want to adopt only older kids because they needed homes the most, but my experiences with older child adoption have been terrible. Our son from Hong Kong (see below) never sees us. We don't even know why. We had two kids who we adopted who sexually abused our younger kids and are gone. I think it is common for kids who come to us at an older age not to bond with us the way younger kids do. My infant adopted kids are as bonded to me as my biological son. There is literally no difference. In fact, I think I'm actually closer to the daughters I adopted than my bio. son, but they came in infancy.
    I have come to tell myself that we did the right thing adopting our son, and that he had opportunities he never would have had if he hadn't been in our home. He is brilliant and is already a millionaire and that would never have happened if he'd stayed in Hong Kong, where being the child of an unwed mother is still a terrible blight. You did the best for your kids that you could. Perhaps our kids will come back to us one day. If not, we know we did the best we can.
    It has been three years for my son, and it is better now. My biological son and his wife had a son (my grandson!) and I just feel more blessed by the children who want to be with us.
    I know your mommy heart hurts, and I feel for you and all mothers estranged from their children.
  6. Im a Believer

    Im a Believer New Member


    I agree with all who have posted.

    Please know you are not alone.

    I have 6 bio children and most of them are estranged from me and only come around when they need something.

    I am sorry you are having to live this way - Like you I'm sure - this is not how I pictured my life to be with them when they grew up.

    I would encourage you to do things for you and be happy - Easier said then done - I know - I am telling you what friends have told me, but it is hard - I have always been very maternal, felt I was a good mom and hate the powerlessness I have in them not having a relationship with me.

    Please come here when you feel alone - I am new here and it is somehow comforting to know I am not alone. There are many parents feeling the abandonment of their children.

    We live in a fallen world ~

    Hugs to you my new friend - Judy
  7. judi

    judi Active Member

    Just wanted to add my positive thoughts too: you must rejoice in the grandchildren that you can see. Some things we just have to let go for our sake if you know what I mean. I'm so sorry for your sadness.
  8. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    I am a graqndmother who is faced with being cut off from my new grandbaby because I sent thank you notes out in my daughter's name. The thing is I know if she didn't do it because of this she would have found another reason to be angry. For some people that is their makeup and they will never change. I have learned not to bother her when she is in the nasty mode and to embrace the times she wants to be my daughter. I have other grandchildren and I fill in the emptiness of one's absence with doing things with and for the others. There will always be sadness in our lives but we do not have to make it the focus of our existence. Grab your joy from whatever source it is available and do not dwell on the shortcommings of your very ill and unappreciative adult children.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    My situation is not as severe as yours. on the other hand we have two adult offspring who do not share their lives with us very often. Why? Well, SD #1 and I had a verbal confrontation in l981 and....she does not "get" that she can be loyal to her bioMom and let her children have a relationship with me, too. The kids "like me". :tongue: She has them be polite and call me by my first name to keep her bioMom #1. Weird! Interestingly enough, my much loved son married a quietly manipulative spouse when they were in college. She also does not want their children to be close to me or my husband. They visit no more than twice a year, daughter in law gets an upset look on her face if one of the grandchildren and I share a joke or a simple project in the kitchen...and voila! she shows up to make sure that we don't bond.

    You can not change the behavior or the adult children/spouses. It is not as I envisioned it either. I pictured all six children and all twelve grands gathering at home every couple of years with lots of laughter and great
    food and friendship. Not. I truly am sorry your dream hasn't come true. DDD
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You know - I read this and I think WOW - I guess it could have gone either way with my parents. I was adopted as an infant. But that doesn't stop you from having feelings of abandonment and anger.

    I had it for years. I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE that I was even angry about being adopted until I went to therapy for the abuse I suffered in my marriage. It was there that we kept regressing and regressing and further and further back in my psyche until we figured out that even as an infant you sense things. No one can explain very well why I felt angry - but a lot of my childhood I spent feeling rejected, unwanted and not able to cope with other kids because I felt like an outcast. I had some really horrible kids tell me that my parents were not my parents. I believed them.

    I did have a great childhood, and fantastic parents. Without them and their love I wouldn't be the person I am today. But I also had LOADS of therapy and discovered WHY I was so angry when I didn't even know I was angry - weird I know but very true.

    I never stopped loving my parents but I'm a lot happier as a person personally now. Maybe this is what your kids went though? I know once I had my own child I did sit for a long time just looking at him asleep in my arms and wondered HOW in the world ANYONE could ever give that up - couldn't you work harder, or be more clever, or sacrifice and do without to keep that child? What I found out through therapy even using that same situation was that it WAS the greatest sacrifice to give me up....and allow me to HAVE a nicer life, even if it meant without my child.

    Lot's of things change when you have a child - nothing will change internally if you don't have someone to help you sort it out and deal with it. And the big ? here is how do you deal with something when you don't even know you HAVE it?

    It's a real catch 22 - but not your fault, nothing you did or didn't do.

    There's a book called primal scream that helps a lot of adoptive parents know what it feels like as an adoptee. I'm not a puppy at the pound, I'm not a gerbil in a pet store....I'm a person who felt abandoned. Now I'm a person who knows I am loved.

    Hope this helps
  11. sadgma

    sadgma New Member

    Thanks for your responses, everyone. You're right, detachment is the key but man, is it hard! Especially in light of the fact that this daughter has somehow managed to convince her other two siblings with attachment disorder to stop talking to us, too. I feel like half of my family has died; perhaps dying would have been easier, so my husband and I wouldn't have to deal with this rejection. Fortunately, our other children have been very kind and thoughtful throughout this ordeal.
  12. C.J.

    C.J. New Member

    Star, sharing your story about your adoption, and your final realization that your birth mother did the most loving thing she could do by placing you for adoption is inspiring. My pregnant 18 year old difficult child is considering adoption for her baby, and I pray she does. I pray this baby will find a forever family who have been searching and praying for him/her - and together they make a wonderful family.
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I thought the book was called Primal Wound...will double check.

    I understand, as best as I can, that my difficult child would/could have issues with- being adopted. We did provide therapy early on and it is always available to her.

    Ya know, I had a very (VERY) abusive bio father...and therapy and maturity helped me cope with this situation.

    I do think there are alternatives to an unwanted pregnancy and adoption certainly is a good/healthy one. However, I would like to encourage adopting mothers/families to be honest about family history...including psychological/emotional history/issues.

    My heart aches for adopting parents whose adopted children "abandon" them. Sometimes, these very children required much extra care in many ways and it has to be a heartbreaker.

    We've had our share of interesting comments in the same general arena. Folks will say that difficult child would never of had the opportunities, etc. had it not been for us parents...her parents.

    However, it has been a long hard road (over 20 years) and the outcome is debatable.

    If she were to "abandon" us....I think I would feel sick to my stomach.

    Hopefully, your child knows deep in her heart that you have been good to her and deserve kindness and respect. Hopefully, she will get the help she needs to have healthier thoughts.

    I do think that detachment is necessary. You don't need to be wearing a sack cloth. Do you go to therapy yourself? Are support groups available to you? Please do what you can to nurture yourself...employ relaxation techniques, pray, exercise, etc. and enjoy life as best as you are able.
  14. Emily

    Emily New Member

    Hello -- I'm new to this site, but not new to the pain of estrangement. Like many others, my daughter (adopted at age eight months from Korea) walked out of my life in 1999. I've managed to move forward in life without her, but though my tears have dried outwardly, they still rain hard inside my heart. I'm a professional writer and recently wrote a book about mother-daughter estrangement and am in the process of looking for a literary agent. Though it is drawn on my experience with estrangement, the storyline does not echo my own. Previous to finding this site, I was a member of a site not specific to adoption. We (mostly mothers) found peace by writing through our pain and relying on the power of prayer. Thank you to whoever started this site. It's much needed by anyone whose heart has been broken by their children. All the best.
  15. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Emily, this is an old thread. I PM'd you to encourage you to start a new thread and introduce yourself.

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